I have been representing first-time buyers with Santa Clarita real estate since 1998. Albeit I was a full-time cop at the same time until my "honorary retirement". My partner, Paris, picked up in 1999 and our Paris911 Team and SCVnest and Associates were formed.
First-time buyers in Santa Clarita real estate don't want to be toyed with. They want the truth and they want to work with knowledgeable experts. Not the fast-talking wagon salesperson types of yore.
They have heard everything they need to know from friends, family, works associates. All of those sources have done nothing better than confuse and confound the first time buyers. Now, they did not do this on purpose. Those friends who told them about how they practically stole the home they bought back in the day, they are only boasting about their real estate prowess.
The parents who are explaining that one should only buy a home when that person has at least 20% down payment. That was the way it was back in the day. Don't worry about being about to buy a home with nothing to 3.5% down payment today, that's just silly they say.
The work associates are going to know the "best in the business", along with their stories of real estate victories, they will have someone who they are going to be adamant to refer to you to use to serve your real estate needs. Of course, this may come at a cost, first your friendship, second the agent may be paying this person to refer them business, third - your cost of not hiring the best in the business.
Why would you want to buy a home, besides having the reason for those around you telling you that you need to?
- Rents increase - this is the way it is. There is rent control in place, but that is not typical of the homes, condos, townhomes, and apartments located in the Santa Clarita Valley. As long as you are in contract, you are good to go.
- Mortgage interest is tax deductible - The disclaimer, for most people. Check with your tax professional to see if this is the case with you. We have some clients that are able to write off all the mortgage interest of the homes they buy. That equates to not paying as much in taxes because you are getting credited for your mortgage interest. For the first few years, most of your regular mortgage payment is going to be applied to interest.
- You own it and you can do what you want with it. Any improvements, upgrades, etc - they are yours and can be handled according to your taste. If there is a homeowners association, you may have to have your next improvement agreed upon by them in accordance with the CC&R's - (the HOA rules).
- If something breaks, the best you will be able to do is have the home warranty cover it, if you received one or pay for one. The worst - is you will have to pay for it to have it fixed. Versus renting, most of those items are taken care of by the landlord or their property management company.
- Boomerang kids or other relatives wanting to have extended stays at your place. When renting this poses a problem in most circumstances. They want to know who's going to be staying with you and for how long. If you own your home, you are able to support relatives that are in between jobs by having them stay with you (know that I type this, this may not be a benefit - just saying :0 )
- Feeling and pride in ownership. This one has been said multiple times by those whom we have represented over the years. It seems to be a very common thread in people having something that they own, that they can do with what they want. It's a real feeling for sure.
- Wealth building. Buy at the right time and you will be building equity hand over fist. This is real money that you can use for future real estate ventures and purposes. Maybe you want to pay off your last vacation? You can use your home equity to do that. If we were friends, I'd tell you that wouldn't be smart to do!
- Leverage for other real estates. If you have built equity in the home you bought, you can use that money to buy a rental. Have someone else pay that mortgage and start your own private real estate portfolio. We help our clients do this all of the time and it works out great. With a few properties under their belts, taking care of themselves, in some cases cash flowing, the future looks so bright some need shades :)
- Deductions - Age - Upgrades. Talk with your accountant/CPA. Find out what you are able to deduct from your home. Homes need upkeeping and there is some expense in the process. Ask them what you can write off and what will help you get in a better tax position. Venture out and ask them about buying a rental also, see what kind of tax advantages that will have for you. If they draw a blank, call me I happen to know some great tax people.
- Digging in with your neighbors - This is California and most people don't know who their neighbors are. In some cases, we have clients that move into neighborhoods that have a ton of interaction with their neighbors, holiday decorating and other neighborhood events. We live in the Summit of Valencia. We have something going on almost weekly. It's really special and if someone wanted to get involved, they could. If they want to live like a hermit, that works too.
Lifetime renters and leasers
Renting a home, condo, townhome or apartment fits better for some people. I get that and I don't have to sell buying a home to those who are renters by decision. In fact, in real estate, I don't have to "sell". Those who are wanting to buy or sell find us and those to want the truth about the best ways to do it, they are all ears.
Santa Clarita home buyers - Pre Approval
Even if you think you can afford or qualify for a particular dollar amount, you may be wrong. There are things that pop up from time to time, like the length of employment, length at the current pay scale, time in the same employment field, credit history, fico scores and loan requirements that may create issues with what you think and what a lender is able to pre-qualify you for.
You may know your credit history because you use an online system to have it given to you. You get updates by these "free credit" companies that say you are improved your credit score and you are notified when your credit score has issues with it. What you are viewing is not the lender's credit reporting system. It's very different.
Lenders look at the totality of all three credit bureaus. They also have a computer program in place that they use to digest all of your financial information, not just your credit score and credit history. This is called Automated underwriting. This approval rarely comes in hours, it typically takes a few days to complete. The system will continue to ask for additional information until it's satisfied. Once satisfied it will give the final and ultimate approval.
If nothing changes during the length of time it takes to find a home, write an offer on that home, negotiate those offers with counter offer format, enter escrow, conduct inspections, get the appraisal, ask for credit/repairs if need be, conduct investigations into the neighbors and other aspects of owning this specific home, then loan approval will come. If the escrow process is about to conclude and the lender runs your credit again, which they routinely do, or if they inquire as to your employer, which they have done a few time within the escrow process, and they get a "different answer" from any of those entities - then you could lose out on being able to obtain a loan to buy a home.
The pre-approval amount also is determined by the cost of owning a specific home. Maybe there is an HOA fee, homeowners association to be paid per month. That has to be factored into the payment and approval amount. There could be a special mello roos tax that needs to be collected twice a year along with the regular property taxes. This also needs to be factored into the approval.
These amounts don't serve well in the mortgage calculators you will find within our SCVnest home search systems.
Our advice when wanting to seek pre-approval. Contact your Realtor Professional. That would be me, Connor MacIvor, if you are wishing to do real estate business in the Santa Clarita Valley. Let me walk you through the lending process and give you the questions to ask those lending professionals you are going to encounter. This will ensure that your credit gets run to a minimum throughout the approval process. This will also ensure you are getting the best deal on the home loan and that you are also hiring someone who is going to give you top-shelf service.
Online, there are systems to help you find the "BEST of the BEST" in lending and real estate. Those systems make "The BEST" pay to be on their websites. They charge the BEST a fee to appear at the top of those websites and to have you given their information at the time you fall into their trap.
Google the local Santa Clarita real estate agents. Look through and sift through the results. You will see Zillow, Trulia (both of which are real estate syndication websites), you will see some of the Big Corporate sites, then you will see your's truly - Santa Clarita Real Estate - SCVnest.com.
That answers that question. We are even above the Santa Clarita real estate news sites because of how we talk about real estate from our vantage point of being actual real estate consultants and real estate representatives in the Santa Clarita Valley.
I walk McBean Parkway, I work out at Golds Gym at the Mall. I shop at Ralphs, Vons and Whole Foods. We are truly local. We live in the Summits. One kid is left in high school here. My LAPD friends and partners seem to be moving away to other states. We aren't going anywhere. This is where our business, where I can drive to Hollywood in 30 minutes and get Thai Food on Sherman Way in 20!
Off the soapbox - but I do love living here.
Where does a First Time home buyer start?
First, as we talked about, get with a lender. There are many different types and all are not created equally. Some are really horrible to work with and some are a dream. We hope to make the proper introductions to those who are "dreams".
Second, after you know your pre-approval amount, we need to explore with you what is important to you and your life. Are you a walker, do you need to be close to the center of town? Or are you one that likes homes with larger lots where the neighbors are not on top of you, but with space where you can stretch your arms out without touching your neighbors home.
If you are wanting to buy a home to have a pool installed at a later time, I will advise you that we should find a Santa Clarita home that has a pool already. To have them installed later, it typically not cost-effective. However, if you are going to not be moving for another 10+ years, it will work out to be in your benefit have one installed, in most cases.
Future development that could impact your choice of city, area, and neighborhood. What planned housing will be built in the coming years. We do our best to brainstorm this aspect of homeownership. This can and will affect your quality of life and resale.
Planning for the Future as far as family, etc. - this is also something else that would be important. If you qualify for any first time home buyer programs, we speak about that. If you qualify for Senior Housing considerations we speak about that as well. Schools, proximity to the infrastructure and hubs of commerce are also very important to have discussed during our real estate game planning sessions in my Santa Clarita real estate offices.
When it's determined where would be the best place to start looking for a home, condo or town-home, we explore the new housing, we also explore re-sale homes. Word of advice, do not sign anything when visiting a new home or one that is being held during an open house. This may cause you issues later down the road if you don't have your selected real estate professional with you during the visit. Just keep your self and your motives secret, no matter how tempting to give your name or email address to the one asking.
Always, work with your own realtor when buying a Santa Clarita Home. Great advice because the seller has their own agent. You need one that is on your side 100% and who do not share any interest with the seller. I would bet in a few years this thing of which I speak called "dual agency" will be outlawed in the state of California as it is in Canada(2019) and in several other states. Those "woke" states and countries say it's illegal for a home seller's agent to also represent the home buyer on the same transaction with the same home.
First time home buyers, veteran home buyers, and those in between. You need a good guide. One that represents home buyers in the Santa Clarita Valley on a full time basis. When you are ready, reach out to me directly. My phone number is at the top of this page and you will be served very well. If you want to contact me via one of our Buying Santa Clarita real estate online forms - it's here: